Potential Benefits of Mood Walks

Walking groups are an effective tool in mental health services. A recent survey of mental health organizations found that 77% of those who ran a walking group reported their group was a success! We expect that being involved in Mood Walks may provide the following benefits to a variety of stakeholders:

For participants

  • Physical health benefits
    • Increased physical activity levels
    • Improved overall physical fitness
    • Reduced risk for chronic diseases
  • Mental health benefits
    • Improved mood and confidence
    • Support for the recovery process
    • Increased feelings of control over one’s mental well-being
    • Development and strengthening of coping skills
  • Social benefits
    • Increased social interactions and improved social ties
    • Opportunities to develop communication skills
    • Reduction of social barriers to participation in physical activity
    • Peer leadership opportunities
    • Increased exploration of and comfort in the community
  • Increased recognition of and participation in walking/hiking as a health-promoting activity
    • Increased awareness of the benefits of physical activity and the natural environment
    • Increased confidence in hiking ability and improved hiking skills
    • More frequent use of trails, conservation areas, and outdoor recreation settings

For your organization

  • Demonstration of your commitment to holistic, recovery-oriented service provision
  • Development of partnerships with recreation service providers and other organizations
  • Creation of new volunteer and peer-leader positions
  • A new way for staff to connect with clients
  • Improved job satisfaction and stress management among staff members
  • Support for a health-oriented workplace culture
  • Increased awareness of the links between recovery, physical activity, and the natural environment
  • Improved implementation capacity for physical activity interventions
  • Shared knowledge and expertise among project partners and other mental health organizations

For the mental health service sector at large

  • Support for holistic, recovery-oriented mental health policies
  • Increased awareness of mental health issues
  • Cross-sectoral involvement in mental health promotion

For the greater community

  • Improved sharing of knowledge and resources through partnership
  • Greater social inclusion through reduced stigmatization of and discrimination against people with mental illness
  • Improved awareness of the importance of creating walkable communities
  • Increased environmental awareness and usage of conservation areas and other natural settings
  • Increased recognition of the value of conservation areas and other natural settings to our overall health
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